Building a Relationship with your Franchisor
It’s no secret that investing in a franchise involves a lot of effort, a tremendous amount of commitment, and a wealth of connections to maintain. While it’s true that much of this work amounts to running your own business, it’s important to recognize that there are other unique factors to consider. In particular, the relationship you have with your franchisor can be one of your most valuable assets and a key to your success. Let’s take a look at a few areas of focus that can help build a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with your franchisor.
Clear and open communication with your franchisor
Just like any other successful relationship, a foundation of clear and open communication with your franchisor is essential. As a franchisee, you are on the frontlines. Your feedback on how the business is running – which strategies are working and which are not, whether processes are successful or lacking, ideas for new initiatives or areas of improvement – is extremely valuable to the franchisor. Be sure to stay in touch regularly, and to reply promptly when the franchisor reaches out. At the same time, use this relationship to your advantage by asking for support when needed. Show your franchisor that you are proactive, engaged, and honest.
You should also be aware of the avenues for communication in place, and then use them to your benefit. Whether these are online portals, conference calls, meetings, etc. be sure to follow the expected lines of communication while also looking for additional opportunities to connect further. In particular, try to move beyond using only digital methods of contact; portal updates and emails are great, but to build a truly close relationship with your franchisor, take advantage of calls, meetings, in-person visits, and conferences.
Building trust with your franchisor
If you’ve taken the advice of the previous section to heart and put real effort into setting a standard of honest communication with your franchisor, you’ve already taken a great step toward the next key element of your franchisor/franchisee relationship: establishing a foundation of trust. In the bigger picture, this means representing the company well in order to maintain the integrity of the brand. While every franchisor has different expectations, and you should have the opportunity to share your feedback and ideas, you should also respect the overall vision of the franchisor. Do this by following the guidelines put in place, such as adhering to operational standards, ensuring timely reporting, and participating in marketing initiatives. Remember that while you are running the local franchise, the franchisor has systems in place based on knowledge and experience which are focused on running a successful business. Build a stronger relationship with the franchisor and show yourself as trustworthy by respecting their wishes, delivering on your promises, and meeting your goals.
Alignment of Goals and Culture
If we’re being honest, while good communication and mutual trust are key, it will be difficult to build a strong relationship with your franchisor if you do not align with the culture of the company. Ideally, this effort should begin prior to even choosing a franchisor to work with. Be sure to do your due diligence and research the values, mission, and culture of the company to see if it would be a good fit for you. You can research the company online, request informational materials from the franchisor, and even speak with other franchise owners to get a better understanding of company culture and expectations.
If you’re already working with a franchisor, you should hopefully have a pretty clear understanding of their values and goals. However, there are a couple simple actions that can help you to further strengthen your commitment to company culture. First, be willing to learn new approaches and new ways of doing things. Company values inform purpose, which in turn informs strategy, which helps to build procedures and initiatives. Your willingness to engage with new initiatives and approaches can demonstrate your commitment to the values and goals of the company. Similarly, by using the tools provided for recruitment, training, operations, and marketing, you can show your franchisor that you are invested in not just your business, but the culture (and therefore success) of the company as a whole.
Ultimately, what you get out of your franchisor/franchisee relationship is in a large way determined by what you put into it. Work on building a strong relationship with your franchisor by aligning with company culture, creating a foundation of trust, and proactively establishing clear and open communication. Remember, your franchisor wants you to succeed and can offer you the tools and knowledge to do so, so make the effort to prioritize this relationship.
Why I Have an Issue with the Forbes Franchise Rankings
The 5-Year Growth Rate and 5-Year Franchise Continuity are both great independent metrics of how a franchise is doing on average. As a potential franchisee both of these statistics are vital for selecting a franchise - you want to select a franchise that will provide you with a high return on investment and which will survive in the long run. I think these are, as FRANdata and Forbes suggested, two of the biggest (if not the two biggest) and most obvious metrics for whether or not a franchise is a “good” opportunity for a franchisee. But how do you use these to determine which franchise is BEST? This is the fundamental difficulty in coming up with a ranking system - it isn’t the difficulty in separating the good from the meh from the bad - it’s separating the great from the good and the best from the great. In the case of these rankings I found it to be pretty difficult to comprehend how they differentiated between the top ranked franchises. For instance, if you look at the difference between Discover Map (Forbes #4), Just Between Friends (Forbes #5), & Seniors Helping Seniors (Forbes #6) they all have extremely close continuity ratings and substantially different growth rates. In fact, in the case of these three, the overall rankings are opposite the growth rate rankings. Seniors Helping Seniors is ranked at the bottom of these three franchises despite having a growth rate that is 31 percentage points higher than Discovery Map and a continuity that is only 2 percentage points lower. This suggested to me that continuity was viewed as the dominant factor. But that logic didn’t hold for the rest on the “Economy Class” Top 10, as BrightStar Care (Forbes #7) had the same growth rate as Pop-a-Lock (Forbes #8) but a continuity rate that was 12 percentage points lower. These comparisons show that these were not the only two factors that went into the rankings, which is understandable, but no other factors that are explicitly listed in their results seem to be major factors.
Franchise Feature: How The Barre Code Became A Top Results Driven Fitness Franchise (Full Webinar)
Are you looking to own a business that can make money and make people feel great about themselves? This week we hosted another Franchise Feature with, The Barre Code, where they shared about one of the most efficient, results-driven and unique fitness programs on the market today!
Social Media Will Sell Your Next Franchise. Just ask the Former VP of Marketing at the IFA
Franchisors need to have guidelines for franchisees when it comes to using social media, but to date, most have not put together formalized play books for franchisees to follow. There are plenty of things you can do so your franchisees can create innovative marketing strategies using Twitter, Facebook, location based networks, blogging, etc., as long as they understand the guidelines of the franchisor first.